Out of the Games Cupboard

A random assortment of reflections, musings and a running commentary on life.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Hello! I've not posted for a while as I have been busy preparing for the festive season. It has been a busy few weeks during which I've made mince pies, gingerbread, turkish delight, a christmas cake, marzipan fruits and lots of mulled wine.... and the occasional apple crumble! Lisa, Ellie and I have seen many friends and have exchanged gifts as is the norm. Lisa and I had a lovely time at Jack and Lou's party; Ellie got to dress up as an angel in the nursery Nativity Play. We have visited with family and eaten more than we should. We have arrived safely at the inlaws today and are already feeling relaxed, loved and festive. Ellie is uncontainably excited at the prospect of Santa Claus visiting whilst she sleeps....

I will post at greater length after the festivities but for now I would just like to wish EVERYONE a safe, warm, Merry Christmas.

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Friday, December 08, 2006


Whilst in the alcohol aisle of a supermarket recently I overheard the following exchange between two ladies of advanced years comparing bottles of sherry:

"I like it sweet."

"I like it cheap!"

That made me smile. They went on to compromise on the cheapest sweet sherry. Very pragmatic.


Thoughts for the week

1 - I'm going to need some new scalpel blades. Lisa's parents and my sister in law, Cara, came to visit us. They brought my birthday presents (thanks you guys!). Cara, being a fellow Discworld- enthusiast (although I am a mere neophyte compared to her) gave me a copy of The Unseen University Cut-Out Book. From this I can assemble a model of the said building as described in Terry Pratchett's novel. It looks to be a stunning achievement, turning it into a buildable cardboard model. It will be even more of an achievement if I finish it! It is surprisingly intricate, hence the need for scalpel blades.

2 - Parents - a funny bunch. Ellie is going to be an angel in her upcoming Nativity Play. She is excited about this. Given that all the kids are pre-school aged I was stunned to discover that some parents had complained that their children don't have 'starring roles'! They're not even five! Nursery staff had tried to be equitable and cast children who will be starting school soon in the lead roles. This seems fair to me.

3 - I love Waterstones. Whilst I tend to prefer online book shopping it was lovely to go into a shop, talk to a person, explain a little bit about the person I need a book for and for them to rattle off a list of suitable titles. I bought two as I was spoiled for choice. (Also, they didn't have a book I wanted for someone else and they recommended suitable alternatives).

4 - I love Waterstones....but for a different reason. They are selling Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan; 2 of my favourite boardgames (although I don't own a copy of the latter....£24.99 at ...well...you work it out....hint hint!). Are we finally breaking into the mainstream?

5 - Finding socks in a ballpool is much easier than finding the proverbial needle in a haystack! Thank you Evie :)

6 - I love the City of York online Library Service. I have renewed my library books from just where I'm sitting now. I've also reserved some more books....including one the Library Serivce hasn't purchased yet! How cool is that?

7 - If you see the same GP often in a short space of time then its a bit like 'family GPs' were years ago; you really can build up a relationship. Much nicer than seeing a different doctor each time you go.

8 - I've finished making Christmas cards. Admittedly this is later than I had hoped but... at least they are done! Just got to write in them, address them and actually get around to posting them.

9 - Having just watched highlights from a 2005 concert in Milan by U2 I was reminded that hearing their music is still about the closest I get to a religious experience. Nice to be reminded. I then watched them being interviewed and thought: "I wish they were my friends!". I'm such a would-be groupie!

10 - Ellie is so excited about Christmas and its rubbing off on me! I am looking forward to playing with her toy castle with her more than is reasonable for an adult. To be honest I just want to play with it...her presence is not strictly required!

11- Finally.... I have been reminded that we have nice friends. Be it Mal, Francesca (Stuntmother), Patrick and Stuart, Maisy and Henry, the guys who come gaming on a Monday night (Andy, Spencer, Greg, Vin, Jack), Tracy and Evie, Steer,Lisa S, Richard and Emma,Whit, Jason, Annette and Elen. I really like these people, enjoy their company and feel truly supported by them; something I really need at present.

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Friday, December 01, 2006


I just wanted to share something Eleanor said as I helped her dry off after a bath recently. She looked at me from the depths of a fluffy towel and said: "Daddy, I don't want to be purple and have horns!". She had watched Monsters Inc that morning so I think there may be a connection but....who knows!



I had a great day yesterday. Eleanor spent the day with me, as is now our routine. She was in a lovely mood all day. We went swimming, collecting leaves for another leaf picture on the way. We did animal impressions and played shop in the pool. She then played in the padded area at the gym before declaring herself hungry and tired. We then went home, with Ellie enjoying a tube of Smarties on the way (of which she dropped about half but didn't seem to mind!).

We then made beans and toast. Ellie went to sit down halfway through then came and asked me to sit with her. She put her arms around me and said she needed a cuddle. So sweet!

She then went for a nap without any fuss. Lisa S and Baby Emma then came around for a cup of tea and a gossip. Emma is on the verge of crawling and demonstrated her ability to crawl backwards! She is so beautiful! When Ellie awoke she enjoyed fussing over Emma - trying to explain how her toys worked to her. Ellie then helped me tidy and organise dinner once Lisa and Emma had left.

Lisa then came home earlier than expected and we all had dinner together. We then took Ellie for a bath and spent ages playing with measuring cups and getting very wet in the process. Ellie gave me a hug and a kiss before heading for bed.

Earlier in the day my friend Jack had posted pictures of the game he created, published, and is now selling 'Border Reivers'. The photos show the prototype pieces made of Fimo (they are now commercially produced wooden pieces - which are fantastic!) and just made me feel....happy! I think the happiness was for Jack; he has really done well with this game and I am in awe of him seeing it through from idea to production and beyond. As a result of this I suggested a quick two-player game of 'Border Reivers' before Lisa went swimming. Lisa agreed and we happily played a game (I won!).

On top of this my Christmas Craft Campaign is going well and is only now a little behind schedule. If it wasn't for the visual spectacle of Gladiator which kept distracting me from painting I would be on schedule! Still...good film.

That reminds me... my friend Mal rang to say that he had watched a film I recommended and thoroughly enjoyed it. He went on to say that everything I had said about it was spot on. Of course, I can't now remember what I did say about it but it must have been fairly accurate! (If you were wondering the film is a Russian sort-of-horror called Nightwatch. It is the first part of a trilogy and has been compared to The Matrix; I think it has the potential to be much better. I strongly recommend it).

Best of all though was that I've taught Ellie what Hobbits are! When asked 'who lives in a hole in the ground' she replies: "I do, with a hobbit!" I'm so proud.

So even in the midst of neorological problems, financial worries, job-losing possibilities and the stresses of Christmas I can still have a fabulous day! Now, if I can just get Ellie to do a Gollum impersonation....

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